Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bleeding Hearts

Even though my Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra Spectabilis) are losing their blooms now, I had to post some pictures of how lovely they looked a few weeks ago. They start blooming in April, maybe just after the crocuses and just before the wisteria. Their bloom-time overlaps the wisteria a bit and they compliment each other well just outside my greenhouse. Provided I keep them watered regularly, the foliage will stay green most of the season. But late in summer or fall they tend to die back, which is always a bit sad – but I know they’ll come back as beautiful as ever next year.

There are a few varieties of Dicentra, including the fringed variety, however the “old fashioned” Bleeding Heart is my favorite. There was one already planted next to my greenhouse when we moved in and I loved it so much that I planted two more. For some people, Bleeding Hearts conjure of fond memories of visits to Grandma’s house. It’s been a staple of the English-style cottage garden since the 18th century.

There’s some interesting folklore about how the Bleeding Heart got its name. I’m not sure where the origins of this story come from, but I found a blog that illustrates the story very well using pictures of the different flower parts so that it all comes together and makes sense. Check it out, it really is cool how it relates to the flower structure:

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